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Thread: Beall buffing system

  1. #1
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    Beall buffing system

    Hi All,

    Still relatively new to turning and have mostly done bowls finished with Danish oil. I have just started doing some smaller hollow forms and am looking at lacquer finishes (I don't have a sprayer yet but have some Deft wipe on lacquer) and in reading how to finish, I'm getting the impression that most people buff for the final process and I'm not very familiar with this at all and was hoping for some input.

    What are the recommended buffing options? I've read a lot about the Beall system and was thinking of ordering that from Craft Supplies with an extension to be able to use on the lathe. Anyone use the bowl buffers too, and if so, recommendations on 3" vs 4"?

    Any tips, suggestions, alternatives?

    Thanks,
    Tom

  2. #2
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    I am by no means an expert, but I have used the Beall Buffing system and it is wonderful on certain woods where one doesn't want to add a finish and simply wants to highlight the natural color and beauty of the wood. In the piece below it was sanded to 320 grit then polished with the Beall Buffing system (Tripoli, White Diamond and finally Carnauba wax). The platter is 12" dia x 2" thick and it imparted a beautiful glossy finish that is slick to the touch and food safe. Another benefit to the system is that it produces resuts fast. No waiting for finishes to dry, no sanding in between coats, simply change buffing wheels, charge with compound and buff away. One down side is that if the piece being polished is not presented to the spinning wheels correctly or if one doesn't have a firm grip, your hard work can be turned into a frisbee in a nanosecond. ( I know this to be true )

    The White diamond can be tricky on open grain woods, especially dark colored woods and nearly impossible to remove from the pores.

    I have tried the bowl buffing system and have only a little experience with it, but it produced a similar finish.

    I have also used the system to buff acrylics on pens and vases and it is equally excellent in those applications.

    I haven't tried buffing any types of finishes with it so can not comment. The system is a little on the expensive side, but has been worth it to me.

    IMG_3113.jpg

    IMG_3110.jpg
    Last edited by Dick Mahany; 08-23-2019 at 3:17 PM.
    Dick Mahany.

  3. #3
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    Tom,

    I use mostly "danish" oil finish. It will get glossy if you want. I buff sometimes, but not always. Sometimes I buff then rub with something to reduce the gloss.

    They sell an arbor that holds all three wheels. I don't like this since it limits access around the wheels. The other option, when I bought mine years ago, is three buffing wheels and a single 2MT arbor with expectations to unscrew the bolt and to connect each wheel. I didn't like that either. What I did I like a lot - I bought two extra 2MT arbors and fasten one wheel to each - very quick to change.

    You do not have to use their polishing compounds but they are a good starting point. I rarely use the white diamond polishing compound much since as Dick mentioned the white particles can get into the pores and I'm not that interested in a high-gloss finish anyway.

    I do polish some woods, bare with no finish: ebony, blackwood, cocobolo, lignum vitae, etc.

    Black&White ebony threaded boxes, buffed, no finish:
    threaded_ebony_3_IMG_6755.jpg

    I have the bowl buffs but rarely use them. I don't do many bowls.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson80 View Post
    Hi All,

    Still relatively new to turning and have mostly done bowls finished with Danish oil. I have just started doing some smaller hollow forms and am looking at lacquer finishes (I don't have a sprayer yet but have some Deft wipe on lacquer) and in reading how to finish, I'm getting the impression that most people buff for the final process and I'm not very familiar with this at all and was hoping for some input.

    What are the recommended buffing options? I've read a lot about the Beall system and was thinking of ordering that from Craft Supplies with an extension to be able to use on the lathe. Anyone use the bowl buffers too, and if so, recommendations on 3" vs 4"?

    Any tips, suggestions, alternatives?

    Thanks,
    Tom

  4. #4
    I use the beals system on all my hollow forms in conjunction with a danish oil soak that helps pop the grain and harden the surface of the wood. I bought the set that has the adapter for a motor shaft and a 1hp 1800 rpm motor from harbor freight.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2016
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    Elmodel, Ga.
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    I use a system similar to the Beall system, only I made my own arbor s and shaft. I bought their wheels and it works great. The only caution I can recommend is if you use lacquer, make sure that you let it cure for several weeks. If it is not totally cured, it will heat up and start melting the lacquer and will cause you to have to re-sand and start over with your finish. (Don't ask how I know).
    SWE

  6. #6
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    Thanks all for the info. John, when buffing Danish oil, what compound do you use and how soon after applying the oil is it ready to buff?

    Also, they have a threaded extension that sticks out further than the MT2 adapter (see link below), would that be useful or does the MT2 adapter give you plenty of room (I have a Laguna 2436 so there is plenty of room to work around the lathe but don’t want to be too close to the headstock)?

    https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/p...l#ReviewsPanel

    thanks,
    Tom
    Last edited by Thomas Wilson80; 08-23-2019 at 7:21 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson80 View Post
    Thanks all for the info. John, when buffing Danish oil, what compound do you use and how soon after applying the oil is it ready to buff?

    Also, they have a threaded extension that sticks out further than the MT2 adapter (see link below), would that be useful or does the MT2 adapter give you plenty of room (I have a Laguna 2436 so there is plenty of room to work around the lathe but donít want to be too close to the headstock)?

    https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/p...l#ReviewsPanel

    thanks,
    Tom
    I don't use the tripoli compound Beale provides since it is fairly coarse. I use a compound called Vonex, easy to find in England but not in the US. It's finer but not white like the white diamond compound. A google search shows some suppliers willing to ship to the US, or grab some when traveling to the UK. I'm using a partial bar that Mike Ash generously sent to me a couple of years ago. It lasts a LONG time! (Half a bar will probably last a lifetime) I'm sure there is some equivalent compound more readily available but I haven't had time to experiment.

    Whether you have enough room around the buffing wheel might depend on the size of the piece. I rarely turn things larger than 12" or so and the 2MT mandrel easily gives me enough clearance from the headstock to buff to the middle of the piece. I've buffed larger platters (up to about 20") by tilting the piece a bit.

    I apply just a very light amount of polishing compound to the wheel. Rather than load up the wheel I prefer to apply repeated very light applications of compound. I use speeds between very slow and maybe 1500 RPM or so.

    Be careful to use a light touch against the wheel. To much pressure can create a lot of heat and ruin a finish. And be extremely careful to keep a firm grip on the work, especially with smaller things. It is easy to have something ripped out of your hands and bounce it off the wall behind the lathe. I did that a couple of times years ago as a "learning experience" but not since!

    How long to wait for danish oil? It might depend on how you work and your shop temperature and humidity. I use a lot of coats and wrote a bit about applying the oil finish in a recent thread here:
    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....94#post2946494
    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....75#post2946575

    I generally wait a few days to let the final coats dry before I do any power buffing with the Beale. Another wood turner once told me he waits a couple of weeks after the last coat but I think that's longer then needed. The finish does need to be totally cured - the harder the better.

    That long adapter might be fine since it's threaded for the lathe spindle - it would really help getting in the bottom of a bowl. Sure is expensive, though. Frank Penta makes a similar extension from wood with a threaded metal insert - holds it in a chuck. Real cheap to make. Frank took me to Home Depot once just to buy the insert then turned a 2" cylinder and made one for me - what a guy!

    I've also used the bowl buffs in an angle drill for the inside of bowls where the 8" wheel wouldn't fit.

    JKJ

  8. #8
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    Northern Illinois
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    Thanks for the info John, as always. Do you still buff with the carnauba after the Vonax or just use the Vonax alone and that’s it? Would I only need one buff wheel or more?

    wow - didn’t even realize there was a separate forum for finishing. Looks like I’ve got some reading to do.
    Thanks everyone.
    tom
    Last edited by Thomas Wilson80; 08-23-2019 at 9:49 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson80 View Post
    Thanks for the info John, as always. Do you still buff with the carnauba after the Vonax or just use the Vonax alone and thatís it? Would I only need one buff wheel or more?
    tom
    I sometimes use the carnauba but if I do it's very sparsely. Some people use a paste wax applied and buffed by hand with a soft cloth - these often contain carnauba wax. I usually finish up with Renaissance wax.

    But it might depend on the finish you are working towards. I prefer a softer satin finish instead of a mirror gloss so the wood will look like wood. I once buffed and polished a something I made from the blackest ebony - it looked just like cheap plastic! It looked like wood after I knocked the gloss off with 0000 steel wool.

    Kind of hard to judge from a photo without holding in the hand, but these first four may give an idea of the type of finish I prefer. These are gently buffed with just the Vonax then waxed with the microcrystalline wax.
    penta_jatoba_IMG_7636 - Copy.jpg penta_plate_cherry.jpg penta_plate_walnut_IMG_46.jpg BOC_E_IMG_7162.jpg

    These are more polished, white diamond (probably), carnaba, renaissance.
    BOC_D_demo_IMG_6697.jpg boxelder_root.jpg Italy_2.jpg cocobolo_boxes.jpg

    JKJ

  10. #10
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    Like the above comments--go to single m2 taper shafts and single 8" wheels for buffing. The wax/stick type compounds are fine for metals and very hard bare wood work but really tend to burn or smear surfaces such as finishes. Go to auto paint stores and find high quality liquid auto compounds and carnuba waxes--the compounds come in various grits to give you any flat or gloss you want. good enough for Porshes ect. Been using it for decades on autos and turnings. Drip the liquids onto your wheel while slowly turning and wipe it in with your hand--no messy that way.

  11. #11
    I just bought the Beall wheels this week. Thanks for these great tips, guys!!!

  12. #12
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    Would a low speed buffer work better than a lathe? The lathe would allow you to adjust the speed but a bench buffer could allow you easier access. Is there a reason why the Beall system uses the MT#2 adapter vs one that screws onto the threads. I get that the MT#2 is pretty much the standard taper for all lathes but is there another reason? Buffing is something the wife brought up as a possible Christmas present. Not sure how a it's a gift for me since 99% of what I make she keeps but that's besides the point. I haven't really looked into which way would be a better option (lathe vs stand alone buffer) or how much HP would be needed. But since Thomas started this thread I figured I would ask.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    I just bought the Beall wheels this week. Thanks for these great tips, guys!!!
    To avoid cross contamination of the wheels in between uses, I keep them in one gallon zip lock freezer bags. Works great.
    Dick Mahany.

  14. #14
    I don't always but but when I do I use the beal buffs mounted to a shaft between a couple of cheap pillow blocks. I started out buffing with the Beal System on my lathe but I didn't like the limitations so I bought a single buff mounting shaft but still felt limited. I then found a nice twin shaft motor but in the end it too was limited because of the length of shaft so this is what I wound up with. It's brilliant but it shares the space with my grinder so I have to remove the buffs after use so as not to contaminate them with metal filings. I simply took a 3/4" bolt cut the head off and drilled it out to fit my shaft. Inserted a set screw to attach it to the shaft and that was it. Of course I do need to change one of the buffs to get the full effect of all three.
    15640169-612B-44DB-9CF0-99D96B15E33B.jpg58BFC465-FAD9-473F-BE8D-634EE9DF2735.jpgIMG_5914.jpgIMG_5950.jpg
    Pete


    * It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for life - Sister Elizabeth Kenny *
    I think this equates nicely to wood turning as well . . . . .

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    Would a low speed buffer work better than a lathe? The lathe would allow you to adjust the speed but a bench buffer could allow you easier access. Is there a reason why the Beall system uses the MT#2 adapter vs one that screws onto the threads. ...which way would be a better option (lathe vs stand alone buffer) or how much HP would be needed. But since Thomas started this thread I figured I would ask.

    Sometimes I want a high speed, sometimes low speed so using the lathe is nice. The lathe is also right there. A stand-alone buffer would need additional bench or floor space.

    The MT adapters are cheap compared to adapters threaded for lathe spindles. Also, all common woodturning lathes can use the same #2MT but a variety of adapters would be needed to fit the various spindle threads.


    JKJ
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 08-25-2019 at 7:34 PM. Reason: fix quote

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